Cardiovascular Disease: Are You At Risk?

Cardiovascular Disease: Are You At Risk?

Often we women think it’s the guys who have to deal with cardiovascular disease (CVD) but the stats are scary for us, too.

Did you know that a staggering two million Aussie women have this potentially deadly condition?

When broken down, coronary heart disease affects 226,000, stroke another 168,000 and 176,000 have had heart failure.

And it can strip our quality of life… That is if we stay alive.

One of the aspects I find most terrifying is that the first sign of this underlying disease for many women is death.


The best approach is prevention, the second is to treat it holistically by implementing proven lifestyle changes designed to reduce progression and enhance your health and healing.

Research by Dr. Dean Ornish, who has dedicated his life’s work to cardiovascular disease reversal, has proven what many natural health experts have known for decades: a multi-pronged lifestyle approach that focuses on diet, exercise, social support, and stress management works.

Whether you want to prevent (yes, even if your family history is ripe with ill relatives) or recover from CVD, these four steps will help…

1) The right diet

A diet filled with fresh leafy greens, vegetables, and some fruit, plus legumes, organic nuts, wild caught fish and poultry that reduces – or even better, avoids – refined sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meat are ideal.

Prefer to follow a veggie diet?

Perfect! Dr. Ornish prescribes a 10%-fat vegetarian diet for the participants in his research.

2) Exercise often

You need to move and often…

But if you’re just starting on the physical activity path, don’t stress…

Start where you are and at the level of your ability.

Build up to at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.

Think – Brisk walking, cycling, dancing, gardening, swimming, weight training.

An added benefit is that moderate exercise also aids number 4, stress management.

3) Social support

It’s not surprising that social support can significantly impact on our health…

A hug when you’re feeling down…

A kiss to let you know you’re loved…

A reassuring word when you are ill…

Each of these very human connections is important for our psychological wellbeing, which means they’re good for our physical health as well.

On top of this, social support helps to lessen stress which is a well-known, important step for reducing cardiovascular strain.

4) Stress management

The study Cell aging in relation to stress arousal and cardiovascular disease risk factors puts it succinctly, “Psychological stress is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), with multiple behavioral and physiological mediators.”

We can’t detach our body from our mind and studies like this one show how deeply these two parts of us are connected; in this case, to our very genes.

Try: Breathing, catching up with good friends, gentle exercise, laughter, meditation, mindfulness, and Yoga.

Maybe you’ve got relatives who are struggling with cardiovascular disease or know you are at an increased risk?



xx Nik

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References:

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/women-heart-disease-cardiovascular-profile/contents/table-of-contents

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002914903003205

https://www.ornish.com/wp-content/uploads/can-lifestyle-changes-reverse-coronary-heart-disease.pdf

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/life-after-a-heart-attack/lifestyle-changes-for-heart-attack-prevention

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453005001897

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